Episode 231

Jade opened her eyes feeling the overwhelming scent of mildew overtake her senses. She coughed feeling an ache all over her body. She was stiff and despite her thoughts about getting up, she felt a weight over her. It didn’t take long for her to figure out that part of the heaviness had to do with the restraints upon her. She let out a groan as she felt a distinct tug on her leg.

“You couldn’t just stay put, could you?” Susan snapped making sure the metal cuff was tight around Jade’s ankle. “Honestly, where did you think you were going to go? What did you think was going to happen?”

“Susan…” Jade looked to the mad woman before her. Her vision was hazy, but for the first time she could recall how she’d wound up in such a position. Closing her eyes she thought back to that morning at her apartment when she was on her way to the courtroom. She’d answered the door to discover Susan standing outside in the hallway.

“What in the hell are you doing here?” Jade lashed out at her.

“I thought I’d come and see you about Grady. There were a few things I’d wanted to discuss with you,” Susan had explained in a polite voice, but Jade knew better not to trust her.

“I have nothing to say to you,” Jade folded her arms in front of her chest, “I think your actions have spoken for themselves.”

“I came over to apologize--to tell you what you need to know to clear Grady’s name,” Susan had tried to appeal to her once again, “If you let me in, then I can tell you what you need to know about Cameron. I can give you the key to saving Grady.”

“Why would you want to do that considering how much you love tormenting him?” Jade had spoken up in a firm, disbelieving tone.

“Because I used to love him once upon a time. I still care about him,” Susan pleaded with her, “I realize that you have every reason in the world to hate me, but don’t turn me away when it can save Grady. Don’t let yourself walk away from your last chance to rescue him.”

“If you care so much, tell it to the District Attorney,” Jade snarled in response, her agitation carrying over her. She felt herself ready to head out of the apartment and Susan was nothing more than an annoyance.

“But if you…” Susan tried to step in once more.

“You heard me. Don’t tell me, tell someone who can do something about it,” Jade replied still doubtful of Susan’s intentions. She reached into her pocket for her keys, but then realized she’d left them on the table. She turned her back to Susan briefly, not thinking anything of it, “You can just tell them if you really feel compelled to clear your conscience.”

“Fine, then I’ll do that,” Susan took a step back watching in a smooth, calculating moment of silence while she reached into her purse, “Oh, but before I go Jade, there’s just one more thing…”

“And what might that be?” Jade huffed spinning around just in time to feel the needle in her neck.

“If you think that you’re going to live happily ever after with Grady, you’ve got another thing coming,” Susan’s words now echoed in Jade’s head.

Jade’s eyes snapped open as she glared up at the woman who’d ripped away her freedom. She could now remember the blurred visions of the ride they’d taken in Jade’s car to the water. She heard the sounds of something in the distance, but it was all in a haze--a faint, distant drumming over the sounds of Susan moving around the room.

“You thought you were so smart, didn’t you?” Susan tossed out in an accusatory tone, “You really believed that you and Grady would be able to live happily ever after in domestic bliss, didn’t you?”

“You won’t get away with this,” Jade gritted her teeth, trying to get out of the restraints upon her.

“Oh but that’s the beauty of it,” Susan beamed with enthusiasm, “I already have. No one even knows you’re here. No one is ever going to come looking for you and you’re just going to rot for the rest of eternity.”

“Grady’s going to find me and when he discovers what you’ve done, it’ll be all over for you,” Jade announced with a huff, “You think you may have won, but all you’ve done is proven how sick and twisted you truly are.”

“Sick and twisted,” Susan repeated with a laugh, “Oh Jade, you don’t know the half of it. You see I had so many plans for Coral Valley when I returned. I had things that I needed to accomplish, but you got in my way. All of you did and I couldn’t have that. First with Grady and then with Ken and…”

“Ken,” Jade repeated with a confused expression, “What have you done to him?”

“I tried to warn him that his little goody-two-shoes wasn’t what he wanted in his life, but he wouldn’t listen. He was so convinced that little saint could give him what I couldn’t, but he was wrong. They all were about me and when Ken refused to give me what I needed, well I made sure that I took away the one thing that he thought would change his life,” her laughter grew in intensity, “Only the beauty of it is that I’m the one that changed it for him. I took that little bitch away and he started to see things from my level.”

“What do you mean you took her away? Are you saying that…” Jade questioned uneasily.

“The bombing,” Susan leaned in towards her scraping her nail over the side of Jade’s face, “It was a nice touch, wasn’t it?”

“You mean that you were the one who…” Jade’s eyes grew wide in horror.

“That’s right sweetheart. I told you no one lives to tell the tale when they mess with me. Of course I wasn’t expecting on all the other messy outcomes, but unfortunately to win the battle, you have to have a few casualties along the way,” Susan licked her lips, a proud smile building over her features, “Of course the law enforcement in this town was so oblivious to what was right in front of their eyes. I ordered everything I needed from Cameron’s account--set him up real nice for what was yet to come, but naturally no one was smart enough to figure things out.”

“You mean you…” Jade felt herself sickened at the thought, “You destroyed all of those lives--killed all of those people just because Ken didn’t want you anymore? You ruined his happiness because of your own selfishness?”

“I see it more as self-preservation,” Susan sighed moving up from where she’d been seated beside Jade, “Although I do have one regret and that’s the fact that Russ died. I never really had anything against him. He was always a really sweet guy even when Grady and I were divorcing. I mean sure I knew he really didn’t like me, but he didn’t deserve to die. His bitch wife on the other hand, well in time she’ll see hers as well, but that isn’t for me to take care of.”

“How can you do this? How can you claim to care about Ken or Grady and do all of this?” Jade tried to find some kind of slack in her restraints. She wiggled a bit hoping that Susan had left some margin of error. Unfortunately as Susan continued to talk about murdering Caitlin and all the other innocents at the airport, Jade began to realize that in Susan’s eyes, Jade was just something to destroy as well. That in itself made Jade realize that she had to escape before Susan snapped far beyond where she was right here and now and things turned deadly.


“I’ve been better,” Blake answered Kevin’s question before looking between him and Ria, “What about you two? Are you okay? I mean really. You two look like a you are feeling a little, I don’t know how to explain it…”

“Worried?” Kevin suggested before nodding slowly to finish up quickly. “We have been really worried for a long time and we just are worried. You know.”

“Right,” Blake nodded slowly by the way that Kevin and Ria were looking at each other. The word she really was looking for was odd, but hey--whatever they wanted her to believe was fine with her. “So, I came to see how your sister was doing.”

“Oh, she is doing pretty good considering,” Ria replied, taking in a deep breath as she looked back towards her sister‘s hospital room, “A little banged up, but she is pulling through it. What about your brother? How is he doing?”

“Kenny is pulling through this horrible thing,” Blake sighed, thinking back to Ken and the way he had been the last few days, “I think he getting better. I am pretty sure that he is.”

“Well that’s good to hear,” Ria nodded slowly as Kevin snapped his fingers, thinking of something to say. It was at the end of his mind, but he couldn’t remember it.

“Oh, what about your friend Kyle?” Kevin wondered seeing Blake nod slowly. “How is he doing? Have you gone to see him lately or do you not know?”

“Well, I saw him a while ago and he was doing a lot better,” Blake answered with a small smile, “It’s nice that you two cared enough to ask. I mean, not many people do that these days.”

“Well, hey,” Kevin shrugged, thinking for a minute, “I know when you are in that position, lying down in that bed forever--it sucks. So, you can’t help but ask how they are doing.”

“That’s a good way to look at it,” Blake nodded slowly before shrugging her shoulders and holding out a bag towards Ria, “I got this for your sister at the gift shop. I felt bad for her having to go through this at so young, so I thought I would try to get her something to cheer up.”

“Thanks Blake,” Ria smiled before her attention turned to Seth who was now walking out of the door from Trisha’s room, “Hey, how is she feeling? Any better after seeing you?”

“I highly doubt it,” Seth sighed thinking it over for a moment, shrugging his shoulders, “But we were just talking about stuff.”

“Stuff?” Kevin questioned quickly seeing Seth nod slowly. What were they talking about in there? “What kind of stuff.”

“We were just talking about when you taught her self-defense when she was really young,” Seth cracked a small laugh before shaking his head slowly, “We were laughing about the time she…”

“Why does everyone find that funny?” Kevin questioned with a small blush, shaking his head slowly. “That wasn’t funny at all.”

“Because it was funny,” Seth pointed out with a laugh, “I still
can imagine it like it happened yesterday.”

“Oh, what happened?” Blake eagerly questioned, as Kevin shook his head quickly. “I want to know what happened.”

“I’ll tell you later,” Seth promised as Kevin grabbed Seth by the shoulder and Seth laughed out. “What?”

“You won’t be telling her anything,” Kevin ordered with a small smirk, “I’ll find out if you do.”

“Don’t worry about him telling me now, I have to go see my friend,” Blake sighed in deeply, looking down at her watch, “I will catch you later.”

“Bye Blake,” Kevin waved goodbye before looking over towards his cousin. “You tell her and I will tell everyone about that time at the boxing match I was in when you…”

“Okay, okay,” Seth agreed, not wanting Ria to hear the rest of the story, “I won’t tell her, I promise.”


“How could you even say something like that Brant?” Avery questioned with a frown, looking between the two men. “You shouldn’t say things like that.”

“I’m just saying, there is no way he is going to sit around and pull you into this,” Brant stood his point, holding his hands up in the air, “If Grady wants to stand here and believe that Jade is alive and looking for her--let him. I’m just not going to let him keep leaning on you after most of us already know that Jade is as dead at this point.”

“How can you say that Ashford?” Grady questioned, taking a step forward, towards Brant. “You think you know everything, don’t you? Well let me clue you in on something--Jade is not dead. She is going to be back with me soon. And when Avery, she came here to check on me, I didn’t call her over here.”

“Please Denton,” Brant rolled his eyes, shaking his head slowly, “You keep giving her this pity poor me act. You know that every time you do it, that she will keep running to you. That’s why you keep doing that. You are trying to pull Avery away from me.”

“You think so?” Grady questioned, taking another step forward. “I would tell her right now that she should kick your ass to the curb because I don’t like you, but do think she is going to listen to me. No she isn’t. Avery makes her own decisions when it comes to things.”

“Grady, whenever you are around her all you try to do is get more help from her,” Brant pointed out, shaking his head slowly, “It’s like there isn’t a minute you don’t want to be with her.”

“Would you quit your jealousy act here?” Grady pleaded, rolling his eyes slowly. “You sound like a baby crying Brant, you just don’t get it do you? I am not married to her, you are.”

“Come on, you are clinging to her like a leech,” Brant stated, folding his arms out in front of his chest, “They haven’t even found Jade’s body yet and you are already moving on.”

“Come over here you little…” Grady tried to grab a hold of Brant before Avery stepped in the way to hold him back as best as she could right now.

“Would you both stop it,” Avery yelled looking between the two men, “Brant, why are you acting like this? I mean really, Grady hasn’t done anything wrong. I was the one that came here. I did it on my own.”

“Avery, he has no right to talk like that,” Grady snapped, raising his voice by the minute, “Bruce didn’t touch Jade. She isn’t dead--she isn’t.”

“Get it through your pea brain,” Brant hissed, snapping his fingers as he talked, “There is a very good chance that Jade isn’t alive anymore and you know it.”

“Let me go Avery,” Grady growled before hearing someone yell out as they entered the house.

“What is going on here?” Elliot questioned walking up between the two men, allowing Avery to let go of Grady. “I heard yelling all the way outside, so will someone please explain to me what is going on here.”


Hart stood before his father staring at him as Walt Steiner did what Hart had grown accustomed to during the time they’d lived with one another. His father was trying to use one of his signature bully tactics to throw his weight around and get Hart to listen to whatever it was he was trying to sell him, but this time, well this time Hart was smarter--wiser and simply put not in the mood for it. He walked over to his office door and opened it for his father.

“I’m not interested in whatever it is your selling, so you may as well pack it up and consider today a loss. If you’re smart, you’ll see that it’s probably not the best of ideas to try this again,” Hart remarked coldly refusing to let his father get to him.

“Hart I understand your anger with me, but…” Walt began pleadingly.

“No Walt, you can’t even begin to understand the severity of my anger towards you, so don’t pretend to know something simply because you were foolish to make my mother believe that you were hoping to become a family man. I’ve seen what it is you’re all about and while I might’ve been sucked in by it a few years back, I’m just not interested any longer. We have nothing left to discuss,” Hart replied sharply, “So get out.”

“You know son, I would’ve agreed with you on that six months ago, but things have changed…” Walt tried to appeal to him.

“Not that much they haven’t,” Hart argued further, “We really don’t have anything to say to one another as I believe in our last meeting we said all there was between us.”

“You say that now, but if you’ll just give me five minutes, maybe I can tell you how I see where I made my mistakes. If you’ll just listen…” Walt begged again, his eyes tired and desperate.

“I have listened. Over and over again I listened to Walt Steiner’s philosophy on life--his guiding words as he so callously put them. Time and time I sat back listening to you remind me what a loser I was--how I’d never amount to anything, but now that I have, well here you are ready to command my attention and my respect. You’re ready to give me the song and dance about how you made me the man I’ve become and how proud of me you are right before you ask me for the check, but guess what? You aren’t getting any check or any time out of me, so get out!”

“Hart, I really wish you wouldn’t say such things. If you’d only…” Walt took a small step forward, “There are just so many things that I need to tell you--things that I want to say…”

“Nothing you could do or say could make up for what’s happened between us. We agreed to live separate lives and I’ve kept my end of the bargain. It’s high time you do the same,” Hart motioned to the door once again, “So get out unless of course you’ve once again come around to remind me of how you’ve never kept your word about anything that mattered.”

“Hart I,” Walt opened his mouth to speak, a sigh sweeping over him before he dropped his head, “I wish that you wouldn’t say those things.”

“And I wished for most of my life that I had a father who was willing to be what every boy needed in his life, but guess what? It never happened for me, so why the hell would I even think about doing any favors for you?” Hart blurted out angrily motioning to the door again, “I’m not going to ask you another time.”

“Fine, I’ll leave for now,” Walt adjusted his jacket taking a step towards his son, “but sooner or later you and I are going to need to have a discussion with one another.”

“No we aren’t,” Hart answered stiffly watching his father walk out the door like a dog that had been scolded, now trotting away with his tail between his legs. Once Walt had exited the office, Hart slammed the door behind him.

“Good-bye to you,” Hart muttered under his breath turning around to go to his desk once again. He heard a knock on his door. “Damn it. Why don’t you just leave like I asked you to?”

“Hart,” Jenna gasped seeing him open the door in a fury, “Hey…”

“Jen, I thought that you were,” he began apologetically.

“Your father?” she finished knowingly, “Yeah, I ran into him in the lobby.”

“Did he say anything to you? Because I swear if he did…” Hart’s jaw tightened with anger.

“He didn’t say anything, but then again he didn’t have to. I heard most of it on the way in to see you,” she paused a frown touching over her lips, “Don’t you think you might’ve been just a tad bit harsh?”

“No, not at all. It was brutal honesty,” Hart mouthed with a grumble, “That’s what Walt always commanded of me and now he’s got it. Case closed.”

“But Hart…” Jenna watched him stomp over to his desk once again.

“No Jenna. I’m done with it,” Hart plopped down in his chair. “I’m completely done with that man and I don’t want to waste another second of my life thinking about him or the chaos that follows every time he’s in town.”


Heather marched right inside the Ashford mansion using the copy key that she’d gotten for herself. Yes, Augustus had complained about her returning the original and eventually she was sure that she’d have to, but for now she had her own little security blanket on the matter. She dropped her key into her purse before making her presence known.

“Augustus,” she called out to the man who had promised he’d move heaven and earth to get her Charles back. She’d warned him to get moving on it, yet somehow with Charles at Kipp’s place that only made her even more eager to get her son back into her life. “Where are you? Augustus!”

She marched down the hallway finding him in the study looking over a few papers. Pulling the French doors open more completely she stomped into the room, “What in the hell haven’t you been returning my phone calls?”

“Heather, I didn’t expect to be seeing you,” he answered with a long pause, “What are you doing in here? How did you get in?”

“That’s none of your business,” she marched in closer to his desk, “but what I can tell you your business is you getting your butt moving on my custody case. I just got word that the hearing has been delayed yet again.”

“Well I…” Augustus began uneasily.

“And what’s worse is that Charles is staying with Kipp! He’s actually at Kipp’s home which is something that you promised me would never, ever happen in a million years. That was the last thing that I wanted and now, well now you’ve made a mess of things--a mess that I intend for you to fix starting now,” she stomped her foot down impatiently, “This is entirely unacceptable. I’m not about to sit back and allow my son to grow up in that kind of environment when he belongs with me. You promised me that…”

“I know what I promised you Heather, but…” Augustus shifted on his seat thinking of how he could break the news to the furious woman before him.

“But nothing. You promised results and that’s exactly what I expect. I want my son with me where he belongs,” Heather demanded of him. “I’m not going to settle for anything less than that!”

“Well you may have to because I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to back you on this custody case any longer,” Augustus confessed watching her eyes grow wild with rage.

“What did you just say to me? Because for a second there I thought I heard you tell me that you wouldn’t be able to help me with the custody case,” Heather stomped in closer to his desk, “but I couldn’t have heard that right, could I?”

“Unfortunately you did,” he admitted with a heavy sigh, “Things have arisen in this situation that have put me in a place where I can’t be helping you any longer. I won’t be able to do what I promised, but I will let you keep the lawyers I’d contacted about the situation. They are already paid for their services and…”

“No way. No damn way!” Heather shrieked. “You promised me that if I left Brant alone and did what you asked, that you would get me my son back. I want to have Charles and you can’t back out of this now. Not when you promised me!”

“He changed his mind,” a female voice rose up from behind Heather. She spun around to see a beautiful, dark-haired woman before her.

“Who the hell are you?” Heather snarled at her clenching her fists at her side.

“Someone who would like to advise you to stop with these childish antics before you start. There is no way in hell that any judge and jury would find you to be a fit mother. The way I see it, you need to stop wasting your breath on harassing my father here. He’s not going to be helping you at all!” Zoë informed her bluntly placing her hands on her hips, “So why don’t you join the other trash and see your way out?”

“Look lady,” Heather marched forward poking Zoë in the chest, “I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but this doesn’t concern you. Augustus and I have an arrangement.”

“Well whatever arrangement he made with you,” Zoë reciprocated the gesture poking Heather in the chest, “It’s null and void. He’s not interested in playing a hand in your making a mockery of yourself.”

“He already promised me. We have a legal contract about our arrangement and,” Heather started to argue once more.

“Heather, I’m afraid that I can’t honor it. You and I will have to come to some other arrangement because I simply can’t partake in this custody battle of yours. You see it’s against my principles to get involved in something so…” he began again.

“Oh you will get involved!” Heather warned him with a menacing look, “You will help me get my son back or else I swear to you Ashford, you’re going to pay. You haven’t even begun to see what I’m capable of, but if you screw me on this one, then so help me God you’re going to wish that you never dared to defy me in the first place. I’ve been accommodating thus far, but if you back out of me on this one, you can consider yourself finished. Finished I say!”

“Heather that’s quite enough,” Augustus stood up from his chair. He circled around his desk ready to say something more to her when security arrived.

“Is there a problem in here,” the burly looking man asked.

“Yes, there is,” Zoë wiggled her finger in Heather’s direction, “It seems that Ms. Gibbons has overstayed her welcome.”

“Yes Madam,” the man nodded stepping forward and grabbing Heather by the arm. He dragged her out into the hallway, with her screaming all the way.

“This isn’t over Augustus! You promised me! A deal is a deal!” Heather’s voice echoed through the hallway as Zoë turned around to close the French doors behind her. She faced her father once again with a displeased expression.

“Zoë, I…” Augustus started uneasily.

“I don’t care what it is that you agreed to with her father,” Zoë spoke up in a smooth warning tone, “I’m telling you now if you even think of helping her in this ridiculous battle she has going against your grandson, then so help me, you’re not going to like the outcome of this…”

“Is that a threat?” Augustus replied with an arched brow.

“No, that’s a promise because as you always said family comes first and Kipp is and always will be family. If you help her get Charles back in her life, then you will never, ever see your grandson or your great-grandson again. The same goes for me,” Zoë warned sharply before spinning on her heel and leaving the room lost in a fury of her own.

Augustus heard the sound of the door slamming in her exit and he realized that while he’d been trying to help Brant, he’d somehow gotten himself wrapped up in a world that he wasn’t ready for. Sure, he was well educated in being ruthless in business and in dealing with his children, but Zoë was right. Family came first and he’d failed her with Kipp the first time. He hadn’t been there when she needed him the most and now, well now he had to make up for that. Heather would just have to learn to understand. One way or another he would find a way to make her do just that.


“Can you believe that Heather?” Kellen questioned, falling back into the couch as Kipp took a seat next to him. “I can’t believe this custody battle is going to go through in the first place. I mean, I’m really worried about this Kipp. What do you think is going to happen?”

“I don’t know,” Kipp shrugged, taking in a deep breath as he thought things over for a long ponderous moment, “All I know is that it is something to look into in the future and worry about later.”

“How could you be so calm when the Ashfords are backing her up?” Kellen wondered, exhaling deeply. “I mean really, I think I am more worried than you are and I am not that baby’s father.”

“Um, last time I checked Kellen--I’m a Mahoney,” Kipp pointed out with a small frown as he shrugged his shoulders, “Which I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.”

“Good point, but you still have to be a little worried don’t you?” Kellen asked seeing Kipp shrug once more. “I seriously can’t believe that you are not as worried about this as I am.”

“You just need to calm down and realize that I can stand up for myself,” Kipp declared hearing another knock at the door as Kellen got to get up, “Let me get this.”

“But if it’s Heather,” Kellen began as Kipp but him off, by walking forward and holding his hands in the air.

“Like I said, I am going to stand up for myself,” Kipp repeated, opening the door thinking that he was going to come face to face with Heather, but it wasn’t Heather before him. “What are you doing here?”

“Hello to you too,” Douglas smiled widely, trying to look into Kipp’s house, “I was coming to see my grandson. That is, if you will let me in.”

“No, I won’t let you in,” Kipp shook his head quickly, standing in front of the door, “I’m not going to let you in here so you can tell me how to do everything with my life.”

“Kipp, I won’t I just,” Douglas began to explain before Kipp cut him off angrily holding his hands up in the air.

“Just nothing,” Kipp scowled, shaking his head as Douglas tried to keep explaining to Kipp why he was here, “I really don’t care what you want or what you have to offer. You aren’t going to see my son and that’s final. So, goodbye.”

“That was harsh,” Kellen frowned, walking up behind Kipp after he slammed the door in Douglas’s face, “That was your father wasn’t it?”

“Your point is?” Kipp questioned, tensing his eyebrows at Kellen’s remark. “Why should I treat him good when all I have gotten from him in my life is crap? He doesn’t deserve to be treated good, not after what he has done to me.”

“My point is Kipp,” Kellen began to explain with a frown, “I never had a father. My father left my mother when I was a baby and when my older brother was very young. Which means you are lucky to have a father. Whether or not you like him, you are still lucky that you have one.”

“That's a way to look at it, but my mother left me too,” Kipp informed Kellen before shrugging his shoulders, “All my father is worth amounts to nothing but trouble. That’s his middle name--trouble.”

“You two may not be in a perfect son and father relationship,” Kellen began with a frown, squeezing Kipp’s shoulder lightly, “But the matter is, it is much better to set things straight. You can regret things in the future if you just let things stay sour. Heck, he could even help you with this whole case thing. So, maybe you should let him come in.”

“I hate how you make me feel guilty,” Kipp sighed, walking back to the door and quickly opening seeing Douglas beginning to get into his car, “Hey.”

“Kipp,” Douglas smiled as Kipp walked out the door and to him. He watched as Kipp thought for a second before motioning him to come in.

“Come on,” Kipp walked towards the front door before turning around towards Douglas, “You are only coming to see your grandson and that’s it.”

“I promise that‘s it,” Douglas nodded slowly before following Kipp into his home.

Kellen had convinced Kipp to let Douglas come in, but everything Kellen had tried to convince him that Douglas would be good for was a big doubt.


“Hey there stranger,” Blake smiled as she shut the hospital room door to see Sarah sitting down and just staring off, “Sarah? Are you okay?”

“Blake, hi,” Sarah shook it off, taking in a deep breath as she stood up, “How are you today?”

“I’m doing good,” Blake nodded, taking a step forward to hand Sarah the coffee that she had gotten for her in the cafeteria, “I got this for you. I also brought you some magazines too, just in case you got bored.”

“With all the chaos going on,” Sarah sighed deeply, setting her coffee down on the table and then setting the magazines down on the chair, “I highly doubt I am going to be bored, but thank you. At least I have someone looking out for my best.”

“You’re my best friend,” Blake shrugged, thinking to how bad Sarah must really feel after being here so long, “I guess you could say, I would hate to be in your position so I am trying to help out the best I can.”

“You are helping out a lot,” Sarah assured her, looking back towards Kyle who was now asleep, “I just can’t stand the feeling of being in here with him so helpless.”

“I don’t think anyone likes the feeling of being in one of these places,” Blake pointed out, taking a look towards Kyle, “How is he doing? Feeling any better?”

“As far as I know,” Sarah began, thinking back to what Kyle tried to convince her earlier, “He is feeling better, but I really don’t trust him at this point. He is supposed to be released later and he will finally be getting out of this place if everything goes well.”

“Well, that’s a good thing to look forward too,” Blake declared, nodding slowly, “I know it’s killing him to be in this place, so it might be good for him to go home and get some rest in a nice bed. Not one of these.”

“Rest? Not Kyle, he’s determined to go out and find Susan,” Sarah mocked what Kyle had said earlier before rolling her eyes, “He’s not letting go of that. When the word rest comes up in a conversation Kyle will look at you like he doesn’t know what you are talking about because he never does it.”

“How does he keep going?” Blake wondered with a small frown, knowing that she couldn’t stay up that long. “I could never keep going and going.”

“I don’t know how he does it,” Sarah shrugged, thinking for some type of explanation, “It’s like he is a game that keeps going on and on.”

“If he can keep going without any rest--I guess who are we to tell him no?” Blake questioned with a small frown. “He’s trying to play a game that won’t get him very far.”

“Yeah, tell me about it,” Sarah breathed in deeply, folding her arms out in front of her chest, “Though, the level of the game he is determined to beat right now is getting Susan. He’s determined that he is going to find her. The only thing I am truly worried about is yes, she is still out there and she is after Kyle. You can tell by everything she has been doing.”

“Susan isn’t going to get to Kyle,” Blake promised with a small sigh, “She would be too dumb to try and contact him. With Kyle, he will eventually get over this whole thing. He will realize that it isn’t worth it.”

“To Kyle,” Sarah half laughed, shaking her head slowly, “This thing means everything to him. Not one thing matters more to him than finding Susan.”

“I highly doubt that,” Blake frowned, folding her arms out in front of her chest, “Kyle isn’t like that at all. He takes his priorities in order and…”

“Kyle isn’t being himself ever since Susan did this to him Blake,” Sarah pointed out with a small sigh, “He has become like a cerebral assassin, wanting to be the warrior who makes everything right. He isn’t thinking like the Kyle that everyone knows.”

“I’m sure he will be okay sooner or a later,” Blake assured Sarah, seeing her shake her head slowly.

“My guess is that it will happen later than sooner,” Sarah pointed out, tensing her eyebrows as she thought about the way Kyle had been. The way he acted in Diego’s office was totally different for him.

“Sarah, if you need anything--any help,” Blake sighed deeply before going on, “I will be there to help you out--no matter what. I can help you out with anything. If you need help from someone, it‘s going to be me that helps you.”

“I appreciate that,” Sarah nodded slowly as Blake hugged her lightly, “I’m glad you’re my best friend Blake, I don’t know what I would do without you.”


“…and then this brings us up to the here and now with you,” Susan laughed wildly continuing to taunt Jade, “If Grady really believed that he had a future with you, well he was gravely mistaken.”

“What have you done to Grady?” Jade snapped struggling against the chains that bound her down to the table.

“Oh Jade, sweetheart, Grady’s going to be just fine--” Susan paused with a tiny laugh, “well, as fine as can be now that he’s realized that the mother of his child has died. I must admit when he learned about that little brat you’re carrying, well I have to tell you it was beautiful. He turned into a sniveling, whining version of himself. He just couldn’t get over the notion that you would be gone to him forever. He even employed all his friends in the search for you, which in it’s own way gave me something good to think about.”

“You’re insane,” Jade shouted back at her, “Grady will find me. He’ll never give up until we’re together again!”

“Oh he’ll give up,” Susan leaned forward tugging on Jade’s hair roughly, “He’s already so close to it, but he needs reason to finally be driven over the edge. I‘ve already eliminated my problem where Ken is concerned and Grady‘s next on the list.”

“Everyone is going to see right through you Susan. They’ll see what a demented psycho you truly are. They’re going to discover what you’ve done and…” Jade argued with her feeling Susan yank at her hair once more.

“You’re probably right Jade,” Susan laughed uncontrollably her voice growing shrill and wild, “but by then I’ll be long gone. Kyle and I will be alone together living our lives in a way that neither Grady nor Ken could even begin to understand or appreciate.”

“Kyle?” Jade repeated with a shake of her head, “Kyle would never want you especially after this.”

“Oh Kyle’s already been with me and he’s very happy with me,” Susan rubbed her hand over her abdomen, “and even now he’s going to see just how meant to be together we are. We belong together. For so long I thought that it was Ken or even Grady, but they all pale in comparison to the man that Kyle is. They don’t even come close to him. He’s amazing and wonderful and soon he and I are going to be far away from Coral Valley living out our lives with one another.”

“Kyle doesn’t love you. I don’t know what you’ve done to him, but when he learns what you’ve done, he’s going to hate you. They all will,” Jade snapped refusing to let Susan see her fears, “You’re going to give yourself away because Grady will catch on to what you’ve done.”

“Eventually he might get a clue, but for now I think it’s time that I give him a reason to end his pathetic search for you,” Susan rubbed her hands together, another laugh flooding over her, “Yes indeed. It’s beyond time for me to give Grady exactly what he fears the most. It will be my final gift to him before I go off to happily ever after with Kyle.”

“What are you going to do?” Jade questioned wearily her own worries almost surfacing.

“I’m going to give him exactly what he’s been hoping never happens,” Susan promised leaning in closer to Jade. She reached out to push Jade’s hair out of her eyes, “I’m going to make sure he knows that it’s never going to work for the both of you.”

“I’ll kill you!” Jade shouted at her spitting in her face.

“Wrong answer sweetheart!” Susan snapped in response slapping Jade right square across the cheek, “Don’t worry though we won’t have to tolerate one another much longer. It’s time you fend for yourself. I’ve kept you around long enough. It‘s over Jade!”

“No, you’re over Susan. When I get out of here,” Jade began to threaten her.

“That’s the beauty of it Jade. You won’t be getting out of here. Not now, not ever,” Susan reached into her pocket withdrawing a syringe, “As far as the rest of the world knows, you’re already dead so from this moment on, let’s work on making that a reality. Shall we?”

“Susan what are you…” Jade’s eyes widened in horror, her heart pounding in her chest furiously.

“Giving you your final curtain call,” Susan promised jabbing the needle into Jade’s arm as she thought of all her plans for the future. Oh yes, this was the beginning of the end for Jade. Of course once Jade was out of the picture Susan could focus on the only thing worth keeping around in Coral Valley. Kyle Houston.


“What is going on?” Elliot questioned once more, demanding to know an answer. “We come here to check in on you and Grady and the whole neighborhood can hear you two fighting.”

“Is everything okay sweetheart?” Cheryl wondered, walking into the house seeing Grady and Brant before her.

“Forget this,” Brant scowled, shaking his head slowly, “I have to go see Ken at the hospital. I am leaving.”

“I’ll go with you,” Avery replied, grabbing her purse from the couch as Brant turned around to watch her hug Grady goodbye, “Ready?”

“Are you sure that you want to go with me and not stay with him?” Brant questioned seeing the frown over Avery’s features. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“What was going on when I walked in here Grady?” Elliot asked his son once more as Brant and Avery walked out the front door. “What were you two fighting over?”

“He was saying that Jade was dead,” Grady informed Elliot falling back down onto the couch, “I just couldn’t take him saying that right in front of me.”

“Don’t worry son,” Cheryl sighed, taking a seat next to Grady, placing her hands on his shoulders lightly, “Jade is going to be okay, Cameron can’t do anything to her.”

“Cameron has nothing to do with this,” Grady shot out, shaking his head slowly, “They let him out of jail because they had nothing else to hold him in on. So, officially--Cameron Stone is no longer a suspect.”

“What?” Elliot questioned seeing Grady nod slowly. “But what are they going to do now?”

“How am I supposed to know?” Grady questioned, shrugging his shoulders. “All I can keep thinking is that Brant may be right. Jade could be out there looking for me, but there is a bigger chance that she isn’t alive anymore and I really should face it.”

“Don’t sink into that,” Cheryl frowned, squeezing Grady’s shoulder lightly, “You can’t give up your hope, you have to keep believing that she is out there.”

“What hope can I use mom? I mean, I don’t have anymore left,” Grady pointed out, letting out a deep sigh, “I can’t stand just sitting here and not have her with me. Jade did nothing and she didn’t deserve any of this. She should be here in my arms, not out there in the cold.”

“You will have her back soon Grady,” Elliot hushed, sitting down and hugging his son in his arms tightly, “She is going to be back with you soon. I promise.”


“So are you going to sit there in silence or are you going to say anything,” Brant frowned looking over at Avery as she slumped in her seat. They were on their way to the hospital but now after they’d left Grady’s house, she seemed to be in a rather irritated mood.

“You mean in general or where you’re concerned?” she replied with a huff.

“Hmm, well I suppose that answers my question,” he looked to the road ahead of him, his jaw clenching with tension, “You’re mad at me.”

“You’re damn right I’m mad at you. What the hell were you doing at Grady’s house?” she snapped back at him, her dark eyes full of venom, “Do you have any idea what kind of jerk you came off to be at his house?”

“Hmm, gee, jerk you say,” Brant rolled his eyes. He cast a glance over at her before he scowled, “Considering that all last night I thought that you were home in bed, then I learn this morning that your serial killer ex is on the loose and that he might’ve gotten to you, well it more than gave me a right to be upset--especially after I learned who you were with last night.”

“Brant, Grady is my friend,” she argued with him, “I don’t see what it is that causes you get so worked up about that.”

“Well for starters you’re constantly lying to me now that you’re spending time with him,” Brant reminded her bluntly, “here I was thinking that you were safe at home, but then when I find out you didn’t even bother to go there… Tell me Avery was that part of the plan all along? You ditch me at the hospital so you can have a sleepover with Grady?”

“That wasn’t what I was trying to do. I was going to go home, but…” she began in her own defense.

“But what? But you decided that you’d rather cuddle up next to him then find your way to our bed alone?” he muttered sourly, “Oh yeah Avery and there you ask me why I’m upset. Think about it.”

“First of all that’s not at all what I was doing at Grady’s house. I’m not at all interested in him in that way,” she insisted with a huff, “and for you to think that…”

“What?” he glanced over at her, “Avery, what am I supposed to think now that you’re spending all your free time with him? Am I just supposed to accept it and think that he’s just one of the girls? That when you’re alone with him, he’s not trying to move in on you now that Jade’s gone?”

“He’s not,” Avery argued her mind flashing back to the morning when they’d awaked in one another’s arms on the couch. She could see the surprise on Grady’s face and she too could feel the embarrassment over the situation after they’d been kissing on one another. Still that wasn’t relevant to her conversation with Brant. “He loves Jade with all that he is.”

“Yeah and there’s a really big possibility that she could be dead--that she’s never coming back, so Grady’s theory is why not have a backup just in case,” Brant clenched the steering wheel tighter before switching lanes. “I see the way he looks at you Avery.”

“You’re imagining it Brant,” Avery shook her head at the thought, “Grady’s not like that.”

“You keep saying that, but I’ve watched the way he is when you’re around. He’s got this expression, this thing that he does,” Brant paused his own jealousy burning inside of him, “Tell me something Avery. Have you slept with him?”

“What,” she questioned choking on his words. “Brant, how can you even ask me that?”

“Because I can pick up on it. I can sense something in the air between you both,” he glanced over at her again, “You were lovers at one time, weren’t you?”

“No, we weren’t lovers,” Avery insisted her mind flashing back to the one night when she and Grady had almost crossed that line with one another. They’d both been drunk and hurting and while they’d got a bit heated with one another, there was no way that they would have let it get that far. They were just being stupid and… “No, Brant. I was never his lover and I don’t ever intend on being one either.”

“Gee, you could’ve fooled me because with the way Grady looks at you Avery, I really, truly think that he believes something more is going to happen with the two of you. Anytime he needs something he enlists your help and he finds excuse after excuse to be with you,” he turned down one of the roads by the hospital, “Last night I asked you not to go see him. I asked you to put his problems aside for a while and what did you do? You ran to him without a second thought. You spent the night at his house for God’s sake! What am I supposed to think?”

“What do you want me to tell you Brant?” she threw her hands in the air, “That I’m sleeping with Grady? That I’d rather be with him then you?”

“Well is that what you want? Is that where this is headed?” he asked bitterly, “Is this your way of telling me that you’ve found your replacement for Russ and you don’t need me anymore?”

“No, that’s not what I’m telling you at all. Brant, I love you. I love you so very much and for you to think so little of me,” she groaned inwardly, “I don’t know why I even bother considering that you’re never going to listen to me anyways.”

“Yeah, well let’s think about this one Avery--really think about this one,” Brant continued taking in a slow breath, “When you and I were getting closer--when we were getting hot and heavy, you were giving me all the right signals. I thought we had something special going on even when you were with Bruce…”

“But I wasn’t with Bruce when you and I were flirting with temptation--at least not when things got a bit too far with us for comfort during that time,” Avery reminded him thinking back to his pursuit of her.

“Yes, but then after when you were free. You threw yourself on me and I tried to be a gentleman. I tried to give you space and room to realize that we were meant to be together, but what do I get when I think things are going good between us?” he glanced over at her disapprovingly, “I get the news from Caitlin that you ran off to marry Russ after I asked you to be my wife.”

“Brant, he’s the father of my baby and the love of…” she began in frustration.

“Yeah, I know. The love of your life,” Brant shook his head at her, “but here’s a newsflash for you Avery, he’s dead and he isn’t coming back. I know that’s harsh, but he’s a part of your past and I’m supposed to be your future. It’s supposed to be me that you’re running to instead of his jerk brother. I’m the one you pledged your life to--the man you promised to love and forsake all others for. We should be focusing on us, not on Grady’s dilemma of the moment.”

“So what? I’m just supposed to ignore him because you don’t like him being my friend? Because you’re uncomfortable with it, I should just give up all my male friends altogether?” Avery glared over at him, “I mean is that what you’re telling me? That I have to live by your guidelines and your rules or else there’s going to be hell to pay?”

“That’s not what I’m saying, but what I am saying is that you don’t need to be spending all your free time with Grady Denton. Sooner or later he’s going to push for something more and I know you. You’re going to feel sorry for him--feel that you’re obligated to be there for him out of some twisted loyalty to Russ and…” Brant pulled into the hospital lot.

“And what? You think that I’m going to hop into bed with him in the hopes of recapturing the flame between Russ and I? That I’m going to use him to give me what I need? What you can’t give me? Is that it Brant?”

“I know what men like Grady are like. I know how they always want what they can’t have Avery. You’re off limits and you’ve always been. You’ve been the one woman that he can’t have, but the one he’s always craved. Sooner or later he’s going to want a taste of what he’s been missing out on,” Brant turned the car off turning to look at her, “Eventually it’s going to happen and when it does, I don’t know if you’ll be strong enough not to cave in. I can see you’re already attached to him and…”

“And if you really think so little of me, then we obviously have no business being together in the first place. I hadn’t thought about sleeping with Grady--about cheating on you with him, but maybe I should’ve because it would’ve just reaffirmed all the things you think of me already,” Avery replied sharply opening the door to the car and getting out. She marched into the hospital ready to pay Ken and Kyle a visit without bothering to look back at Brant. If he was going to be a jerk, then he could do it alone because his worries about Grady were absolutely the last thing she wanted or needed in her life. If he couldn’t trust her, then to hell with him. At this point in time that was all he deserved for thinking so little of her.


“Hart, I heard what you said, but watching you like this well, it’s got me a bit worried about you,” Jenna confessed looking over to him with a frown.

“Like what?” he questioned slamming the filing cabinet drawer closed.

“Like that,” she motioned to where he stood, “You’ve been slamming things around and having a fit ever since he left. I don’t think you realize it, but you’re snippy and short tempered.”

“I’m sorry,” he apologized moving in closer to her, “It’s just that man gets to me. I mean here I am having spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in therapy to deal with the fact I’m angry with him and just move on, but every time he comes around I turn into this.”

“And that’s very unhealthy Hart,” she stood up circling around his desk to reach out to him. “I know that you’d rather not get into a discussion about it, but if the roles were reversed here, you wouldn’t let up on me until I confessed all.”

“That’s just it Jen,” he sighed pulling her into an embrace, “I’ve pretty much told it like it is. I mean yeah I could go into each and every grievance I had with the man, but what is that really going to do for us except give you and I both a headache?”

“You never know. It might give you some clarity on the feelings you’re having right now,” she suggested, “and maybe just maybe you can come to terms with your anger.”

“Even after he’s long gone, I don’t think that will ever happen. He tried so hard to make me think that I was nothing--that if I didn’t live life by his rules that I wouldn’t make it in this world, but you know what? I broke every damn one of his rules and I’m better off than he is,” Hart boasted anger still singing his words.

“Which is why you should try not to get so worked up. You know that you evolved and the fact that he was stuck in his own predisposed beliefs about the world proves that you’re the better man,” she continued to remind him, “In your talking to him, that doesn’t take away from the man you are. If anything it might show him just how far you’ve come and he’d see how wrong he was.”

“He’ll never see how wrong he was because Walt Steiner is never wrong,” he rolled his eyes before stepping away from her. “That’s how he’s lived his life and that won’t be changing ever. The fact that he’s here only spells trouble and I’m not about to let my father take me down.”

“I realize that, but in being a parent yourself…” she tried to appeal to him once more.

“My being a father has nothing to do with him. As far as I’m concerned he’s the last person that I would want to know anything about that part of my life. I’m lucky that I’m not like him and I know I won’t make those same mistakes with Sam,” Hart announced firmly, “I’ll be everything that he wasn’t.”

“And when might that be? When you’re his age and waiting for the perfect time to tell her the truth?” she tossed out at him.

“Excuse me,” Hart blinked back at her, “Where is that coming from?”

“Well, I’m just saying that you’re upset with your father for being a certain way, but how do you think Sam is going to feel knowing that you’ve hidden the fact that you’re her father from her? Do you think she’s going to think any more of you because of it?” she challenged with a curious brow.

“I’ll tell her in time. Eventually she’ll understand why I kept my silence. She’ll see why I did what I did,” Hart thought aloud his gaze now fully upon her, “I can’t believe that you’d even draw any kind of similarities between the situations.”

“Well the way I see it, you can’t talk to your father and you can’t talk to your daughter,” she pointed out in frustration, “To me that indicates that in the family department you’re going to have some real problems there in the future.”

“I might, but who cares? I have my priorities in order and things are exactly as they should be,” Hart insisted with a scowl, “I know who I am and…”

“And this is how you’re going to run your life huh? Running from conflict when it arises, eh?” Jenna shook her head at him, “Yeah that’s real mature Hart.”

“Hey, you didn’t have a problem with the way I did things before. You and I were just fine until he came into the picture,” he argued with her, “Before last night all was well, but today for some reason you want to harp on me about this. You keep making it sound like I’m the impossible one when really this is my father’s fault.”

“No Hart, this is about you running away from family when you think it could be important. This is about your inability to commit to any kind of intimacy when it arises. By avoiding conflict, you’re avoiding opening yourself up to being hurt--you’re avoiding feeling anything and it’s going to only burn you in the end.”

“Yeah, well I’ll deal with it when I have to, but right now it’s not on the agenda,” he answered stubbornly.

“Yeah, well maybe you need to find a way to work it in because from what I’m getting here you’re never going to be able to be a father and a son when all you can do is whine and pout over the things that you should take charge of,” she threw her hands up in the air, “I mean honestly by your not doing anything about Sam, how does that make you any different than your father?”

“Jenna, where is this coming from? You’ve always supported me before. When I asked you not to push, you promised you wouldn’t, yet here you are standing before me telling me off for my not wanting to speak to my father. As with Sam, I thought you respected my decision not to tell Sam the truth right away. You and I both agreed that the falling out on that one could be ugly if I’m not careful.”

“I know what we agreed on Hart, but things change. Situations arise and then you can’t control them any longer,” Jenna explained her voice now a resounding snap, “You need to stop running away from the things in your life that bother you and start facing the demons. You need to start thinking about family…”

“I have thought about family Jen. I know how screwed up mine is and the last thing I want to do is dwell on it. I don’t want to think about what a jerk my father is or how I can’t commit to being honest with my daughter. None of those things are front and center on my mind right now,” Hart explained with a groan, “I don’t want to dive into that kind of a headache.”

“Yeah, well maybe you should start thinking about doing so because I need you to act like an adult right about now,” Jenna informed him bluntly, “I need you to stop acting like a spoiled brat and start taking some kind of responsibility in your life.”

“I have taken responsibility in my life. If this is because of what’s happened with you and your father, you need to step back and calm down. You need to not look at me like him and start seeing the man you love. If this is about him…” Hart began in frustration.

“No Hart, this isn’t about him. This is about me. About us,” she explained with heavy emphasis. “Hart, I can’t take to your wanting to revert to being like a child especially when right now you need to be an adult more than ever. I need you to be a grown up simply put because we need that to get some kind of control of our lives. I need you to be the man who can stand tall and own up to his responsibilities and…”

“And I’m doing that Jen. Just because I don’t want to have to deal with my father…” he repeated again trying to get the point to sink in with her.

“Hart, damn it. I’m not talking about your father. I’m talking about us and the family we are going to have together,” Jenna cut him off tearfully, “Damn it Hart. I don’t need you this worked up especially not now…especially not when I just found out what I did.”

“Jen, look I told you everything there is to know about my father. He’s a jerk and…” Hart stepped towards her softening his voice a bit.

“Hart, I’m not talking about your father. I’m talking about you and what your role has been as a father to Sam. It’s like you don’t want to be there for her--like you don’t want to commit to having to be an adult and a caretaker and that scares me even more so now because I just found out that I’m pregnant,” she revealed losing any semblance of control inside of her.

Hart stood still, his face devoid of any kind of emotion other than shock. He gulped down on her words before finally speaking up again. “Jen…are you…are you sure?”

She nodded, “I didn’t think anything of it at first, which is why I didn’t want to bother you about it, but the other night when we went to your place--when you started talking about us taking the next step with one another, well I started to piece it together. I didn’t tell you because things didn’t go exactly how I’d planned, but now…well now you know. I’m trying to get you to think about the future and about your family because you and I are about to start one of our own Hart.”

“Oh my…” Hart’s jaw dropped, his eyes completely blown over at the thought of what she’d just told him. He rushed forward pulling her up and into his arms, “Oh Jen, I wish you would’ve told me sooner. This is wonderful!”

“Is it?” she questioned pulling back a bit to see his face again.

“Of course it is,” Hart explained excitedly, “I mean I had no idea considering that you and I have been really careful about things, but if you’re saying that we are, well then I couldn’t be happier. Just the idea of us having a child together only reaffirms the fact that you and I are beyond ready to take the next step with one another. Wow. A baby…”

“Yeah, a baby,” she replied in a small voice, “It wasn’t exactly something I’d planned on considering the way things have been around town lately. I mean here we both are buried in over our heads with work and…”

“And we’ll find a way to make this work,” Hart placed his finger over her lips to silence her worries, “You and I will more than make this work because this is something that I can’t even begin to explain to you means so much to me. To think that you and I being together has created a life--that we will be parents sharing a child with one another…”

“Just like you and Beth did,” she couldn’t help but remind him.

“That’s different Jenna. We both know that when I was with Beth, it wasn’t about love. It wasn’t about anything that we have with one another,” Hart confessed with a sigh, “We both know that…”

“That Sam is your daughter too and when this baby is born I want her to be a part of his or her life. I want her to be a part of our lives Hart. I really like her and I think she deserves the truth,” Jenna explained reaching out to touch his arms, “I want her to have what I didn’t growing up.”

“Jen, it’s been so long already, that I don’t know if I can just tell her. I don’t know if I can bring myself to just blurt out that I’m her father. I mean what if she hates it? What if she’s so upset that it turns her world upside down?”

“And what if her learning the truth makes her see the things that she’s always felt she’s been missing most of her life?” Jenna offered up simply, “What if this is what she needs in her life?”

“I’ll tell her. I swear to you that I will, but right now, well now I want to celebrate. I want to shout it from the rooftops that you and I are going to have a baby,” Hart picked her up in his arms again dancing her around the room excitedly as he began to sing, “We’re having a baby. We’re having a baby.”

Jenna laughed just burying her head in his shoulder, “Yes we are.”

“Jenna, if I haven’t told you before, I’ll tell you now, I love you. With all that I am, I love you so very much,” Hart confessed kissing her with a renewed passion and desire for her now that his day went from miserable to one of the happiest moments that he’d ever hold with him. Life truly did have a way of giving you bright spots when things seemed darker than ever.


“Where is my grandson?” Douglas questioned as Kipp shut the door behind them. “Is he in the room over there?”

“Wait,” Kipp stopped Douglas from going to the room Charles was sleeping in, “Before you go to see Charles, I want you to meet a very good friend of mine.”

“Hi,” Kellen smiled, approaching Douglas and Kipp, holding his hand out to Douglas’s, “I’m Kipp’s personal trainer, Kellen.”

“Personal trainer?” Douglas questioned seeing Kellen nod slowly. “That’s nice--I think.”

“Yeah, it is,” Kipp pointed out with a small smirk, “Kellen has been there to help me out with a lot over these past few weeks. He is like my guardian angel. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have him.”

“Well, what can I say?” Kellen questioned with a small blush coming in over his features. “I just think that you should always help a friend in need.”

“Right. Kipp, there was something that I wanted to talk to you about,” Douglas pointed out as he turned towards his son. He wanted to tell Kipp about Zoë before she got here herself, but what was he going to say? “You remember your mother?”

“What ever happened to your mother Kipp?” Kellen wondered with a small look of confusion on his face. “Did she pass away?”

“No, she ran off with her very own personal trainer,” Douglas answered for Kipp as he gave Kellen the look that could kill, “That’s where she is right now.”

“Oh, sorry,” Kellen bit down on his lip, falling back down to the couch. That was obviously a question he should have held back because whatever he said got Douglas angered. Kellen could tell by the sound in Douglas’s voice.

“There is nothing to be sorry about Kellen,” Kipp declared, holding his hands up in the air, “You see, what my father doesn’t seem to understand, is that every trainer isn’t a bad guy. He was being a little rude to you and I think he should apologize.”

“No, that’s really okay,” Kellen assured him as Kipp cut him off from saying anything else.

“I think you should apologize to Kellen for acting like that to him,” Kipp suggested once more to Douglas, with seriousness behind his voice, “I’m serious.”

“Kipp, I just wanted to talk about your mother,” Douglas restated what he was originally going to say before Kipp cut him off once more after throwing his hands in the air.

“I get where this is going,” Kipp snapped his fingers, shaking his head slowly, “You came here to say that you think I am going to be a bad father. Well, newsflash--I’m not going to be. You know what? I think you should leave…now.”

“Kipp, I just wanted to…” Douglas once again tried to finish his sentence before feeling Kipp pull at his coat sleeve to lead him to the door.

“I don’t care what you want,” Kipp shouted, opening the door and pushing Douglas out, “I am going to be a great father to Charles and no one is going to take him away from me. No one. I am going to win that custody case and I don’t need your help. I can do it all myself.”

“Kipp I,” before Douglas could finish his sentence, the door slammed in his face. Whatever he had said, obviously wasn’t the right thing. But how was he going to tell Kipp about Zoë?


Heather entered her hotel room slamming the door behind her. How dare Augustus Ashford think he can make a promise and turn his back on her? Well, if he really believed that she’d just let him weasel out of his arrangement with her, then he’d have another thing coming. She wasn’t about to let him take back his promise to help her get Charles back. She was Charles’s mother and she’d be damned if his little weasel of a father would gain custody of her son--especially after all she’d gone through to bring him into the world. Charles was hers and if Kipp wanted a battle, well he was about to get more than that. This was going to be a war!

“He’s not going to take my son away from me,” Heather announced to herself pacing around the room angrily. She plopped down on the center of the bed trying to think rational, but right now all she could do was think about the rage burning inside of her. Yes, someone was going to pay. Someone was going to pay indeed for thinking that they could double cross her. Heather Gibbons was not going to fall victim again.

She reached for the television remote needing to do something with her hands other than put her fist through a wall now that her anger boiled over her. Frantically she flipped through the channels until one station in particular caught her attention. It was a news brief on Cameron’s release speaking about how he’d been cleared of all charges in terms of Jade’s disappearance.

“Oh that’s just wonderful,” Heather mouthed thinking about how her ex-husband would no doubt have an axe to grind with her after she’d helped in bringing that little troll Kipp back into town. Now she almost wished she hadn’t played a hand in any of that given the grief that Kipp had given her. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t entirely true. She didn’t have anything against Grady Denton considering that he seemed a good enough guy and she really didn’t believe in an innocent man going to jail, but Kipp on the other hand. “Oh that little worm is so going to pay. Although maybe I should go talk to Cameron. Maybe I should tell him that Kipp is a lunatic--that he orchestrated all of this and that I’m not at all responsible for the divorce. Maybe he’d listen and we could get back together.”

She paused thinking about that for a long time, “If I had Cameron as my husband Kipp could be screwed and…” she stopped herself, “No that would never work. I didn’t really like being Mrs. Cameron Stone. Well, okay so maybe there were some perks, but…”

She reached for the remote again ready to turn the television off when she saw a picture of Kyle onscreen. She turned the volume up listening as the reporter told the grizzly tale of what had happened to him. Horrified she took it all in feeling her heart sink as she thought to what Kyle must’ve been going through. Nothing like a jab of reality to get her back into the moment. Here she was worrying about destroying Kipp, yet Susan Hastings had done a good job at trying to destroy Kyle.

“I have to see him,” Heather decided shutting the television off and getting up from the bed. She walked over to the mirror taking a long look at herself. She picked at a few loose strands of her hair hoping that in visiting Kyle she could get him to see her as she was. Yes, he’d been supportive of her over the years and he wouldn’t want a little jerk like Kipp taking her son away from her. He’d understand how important Charles was to her. Maybe if she talked to him, he could help her. He hated the Ashford family as well, so maybe he would be willing to back her up. She finished with her hair before taking in a breath, “It’s worth a try.”

Reaching for her purse Heather deposited her hotel room key in it before storming out into the hall. She turned towards the elevators only to run smack into the person in front of her. She opened her eyes, but instead of seeing the hall all she could see was the chest before her…that is until she lost her balance and she fell to the ground with a huff. Groaning inwardly she looked up to see a man standing there with his arm stretched out to her.

“Gee, where’s the fire,” he asked helping her up off of the ground.

“Watch where you’re going jerk,” Heather snarled at him, her eyes barely giving him much of a second thought. She adjusted her dress before stepping forward again. He moved in front of her once more much to her dismay.

“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you as well,” he held his hand out towards her, “My name is Chris and you are…”

“Too busy to bother with you,” Heather shoved him aside making her way to the elevators. She pushed the button waiting for the doors to open, but instead she found herself with an unwanted companion.

“Well hello to you too. I can see that you and I are going in the same direction, so since we’re about to share an elevator I got to thinking that maybe we could share a little conversation as well seeing as I managed to rescue you during your fall,” he babbled moving in behind her.

“Save me?” she repeated with a thick, icy glare, “You’re the one who ran me down into the ground. If you’re expecting some kind of thanks you can just shove it because you’re not getting it.”

“Oh gee and here I thought that we’d forge a lifelong friendship, maybe go skiing on the weekends together and sharing a few drinks,” he continued with a flirty smile only to catch a scathing look from her.

“Only in your wildest, wettest dreams because I’ve got news for you,” she glared up at him her lips curling in a scowl, “It would never happen. You’re not that lucky.”

“Hmm, well I think that’s where you’re wrong,” he leaned in closer to her, “because as luck would have it, I’ve actually been rather fortunate in matters of the heart and especially with beautiful women. You see…”

His words were forgotten as the doors to the elevators opened and Heather stepped inside ready to block him out completely. She pushed the button for the first floor all the while doing her best to try to ignore the pest that had followed her into the elevators.

“You know you may be an expert at this brush off thing, but I happen to be great at bouncing back on the rebound even when someone thinks that they want to get rid of me,” Chris quipped moving in closer to her again, “I mean sure you might think that you want to be annoyed with me, but at this moment you’ve found yourself at least the slightest bit intrigued by me. I mean how often does it happen where you run into someone like you did with me? I think it was fate that you opened your particular door at the precise same moment that I was walking down the hallway. Timing like that doesn’t happen every day you know.”

“Do you ever shut up?” Heather snarled at him with a glare.

“Only when you agree to have a drink with me will I quiet down because when you say yes, then I’ll take the time to listen to all there is about you and where it is you’re coming from. Then of course I would expect the same courtesy before I tell you all about myself. Then later in the evening we could perhaps share a dance, a kiss and anything else that comes up…”

“Look loser,” Heather spun around to face him with a glare.

“Chris,” he held his hand up to his chest, “The name is Chris.”

“I don’t care if your name is Chris, Greg, Buddy or Idiot,” Heather spat out at him sharply, “I’m not interested. I never will be and the more you talk, the less I like you so why don’t you just shut up and leave me alone?”

“Gee, I can tell you’re Miss Congeniality,” Chris eyed her for a long moment. “I happen to like that kind of wit in a woman that you possess. It’s rather charming.”

“What are you a moron or something?” she couldn’t help but ask hearing the sounds of the elevator doors opening. Without waiting for the answer to her question she rushed out not bothering to look back at him.

Chris followed moving in to between the now open elevator doors. A sheepish grin spread over his features as he leaned into the side of the elevator.

“Yeah, she likes me,” he mused to himself feeling the elevator doors starting to close on him. He jumped out with a gasp nearly getting caught in the process. He saw the closed doors now holding onto the back of his shirt as he attempted to go after Heather.

“No,” he groaned to himself tugging at the shirt, but finding nothing worked. He leaned out stretching his fingers to try to push for the doors to open, but it was just out of his reach. Looking around he spotted an elderly woman ahead of him, “Excuse me. Miss. Miss could you help me for a second. I seem to have gotten stuck and…”

The woman snubbed her nose at him before marching off in the opposite direction. He looked to his shirt once more before turning his head in the direction that Heather had headed off in. She was long gone by now and here Chris was stuck in the elevator so to speak.

“Well,” he sighed looking to the elevator again, “I guess it’s just you and me kid.”

With those words the elevator doors seemed to rush open spitting his shirt out with a quick movement causing him to fall to the ground. He watched the elevator close once again while making a dinging sound before it climbed up the floors once more.

“Gee, you didn’t have to be so personal about it,” Chris groaned shaking his head before turning his attention to his now torn shirt. So maybe today was strike one, but as he thought to the rules of baseball he knew he still had two more chances to get it right with the beautiful, agitated woman he’d crossed paths with today.


“Well, I guess I should probably go see how Blake is doing right now,” Seth pointed out, looking back down the hospital hallway where Blake had walked off earlier, “She was checking in on Sarah and I was going to check in on her too.”

“Alright, it’s no problem,” Ria assured him, leaning forward to give him a quick hug, “Thank you for coming in and checking on Trisha. That was really nice of you.”

“I had to do it,” Seth replied before looking towards Kevin who seemed to be just staring off, “Hey cuz, you okay?”

“Oh, uh yeah I am fine,” Kevin nodded quickly, taking a step forward, “I’ll call you later and check up okay?”

“Alright, I’ll see you,” Seth nodded, giving Kevin a quick hug before walking off down the hallway.

“So what do you think…” Kevin was about to ask her a question before he was cut off by the ringing of her cell phone. “You should get that.”

“Oh god,” Ria rolled her eyes answering the phone after realizing it was her ex-lover as Kevin would have put it. “Hello.”

“Ria, honey I was hoping you would answer to me. I have been thinking about us for the last few days and I am really sorry about what happened,” the voice blurted out before going on to the next subject. “I heard about your sister--are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay,” Ria answered, turning away from Kevin angrily, “But does that really matter?”

“Honey, I want to be there, but you know I can’t,” the voice tried to explain to her as Ria rolled her eyes, “I want to be there to support you. I really do, I just have some really important things to take care of.”

“That’s how it always went if you recall,” Ria pointed out with a small frown, “Everything was more important to you than me when it came down to it.”

“You know that I have work and that is really important to me,” he pointed out as Ria bit down on her bottom lip, “I can’t be there every time you need me Ria. I can’t quit everything to just be with you.”

“Well that’s nice to know,” Ria choked out, feeling Kevin grab the phone from her hand and close it. “Kevin?”

“Listen Ria, I care about you,” Kevin began, slipping her phone into his pocket, “Which is why I am going to tell you this now. If you don’t break up with this prick soon, I am going to be the one who has no problems breaking him. Now, let’s go check on your sister.”



...to be continued...